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Adaptability is the key - Leach

Ford's Mondeo replacement will involve “adaptability and lateral thinking”, senior European executives admit as the D segment shrinks under pressure from premium brands and customers downsizing.

Martin Leach, Ford of Europe's president, concedes: “You cannot resist market dynamics or you will fail. We must adapt and be nimble.”

The upper medium class has fallen from 21 per cent of the UK market in 1997 to 13.5 per cent this year.

The Mondeo's performance is being cushioned by growing diesel sales, up from 22 to 40 per cent of volume and the continuing strength of the Focus as customers downsize.

In the longer term, Ford points to a form of damage limitation derived from sharing technology and production facilities with Mazda, Volvo and Jaguar. The next-generation Focus platform, the basis for next year's compact Focus MPV, will provide major component elements for next year's Mazda 3, and a new mid-sized Volvo.

Leach is committing Ford of Europe to continue removing £387m a year from its costs over “the next two to three years.”

He says: “We will not pursue growth purely for its own sake nor short term profitability on the same basis. We have worked hard to bring the company back to health.”

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